Black entrepreneurs built beach havens in California. Racism shut them down.

The hidden history of Santa Monica’s Black coastal enclaves.

  • The Ebony Beach Club building, located at 1811 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California. In May 1957, Black entrepreneur Silas White purchased a former Elks Club building with the intention of opening an African American beach club. The planned club was in close proximity to both Belmar Triangle and Bay Street Beach. During the permitting process, the property was seized by the City of Santa Monica through eminent domain. A legal challenge followed, but the city won and demolished the building in January 1960.

    Santa Monica History Museum Collection, Gilmore Family Collection
  • “A Resurrection in Four Stanzas” by April Banks was commissioned by the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs for Belmar History + Art.

    Courtesy of April Banks and Leroy Hamilton
  • “A Resurrection in Four Stanzas” by April Banks was commissioned by the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs for Belmar History + Art.

    Courtesy of April Banks and Leroy Hamilton
  • “A Resurrection in Four Stanzas” by April Banks was commissioned by the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs for Belmar History + Art.

    Courtesy of April Banks and Leroy Hamilton
  • “A Resurrection in Four Stanzas” by April Banks was commissioned by the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs for Belmar History + Art.

    Courtesy of April Banks and Leroy Hamilton